Once you leave the hospital, you are NOT alone.
The team's social worker will assist you and your family with the discharge preparations. The transplant coordinators will order your medications from the pharmacy of your choice so that all the medications you need will be available when you leave the hospital. The nurses in the hospital will help educate you about how to care for yourself.
Inevitably, questions will arise after you have left the hospital. A member of the team is always available to answer your questions. The central phone number for the Kidney Transplant Program is 212.305.6469. Below are some general guidelines for taking care of your health after a kidney transplant:
After you leave the hospital you will be asked to monitor your temperature, blood pressure, and weight, and to keep a record of your laboratory test results. The office can provide you with a recording chart.
It is important to take your temperature every day in the morning. An increase in your normal temperature can be a symptom of either organ rejection or infection. Both rejection and infection are easier to treat when recognized early. Someone whose immune system is suppressed does not always get high fevers. Call your transplant team any time your temperature reaches 101° F (39.5° C).
High blood pressure is a common side effect of both Neoral and Prograf. It can also indicate that you are retaining fluids. Once you return home you will need to take your blood pressure twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, and keep a record of the results.
You may be discharged on medications that control blood pressure. You can help keep your blood pressure under control by eating a low-salt diet, and by losing extra weight. The team's nutritionist can help you achieve this goal.
Your nurse will teach you how to measure your blood pressure. The top number (systolic) is noted at the first sound you hear and the bottom number (diastolic) is noted when the sound changes (not stops). It is important that you know your normal blood pressure, normal fluctuation range, and when you should be concerned. You should notify your transplant team or local physician if your blood pressure measures:
- Systolic: more than 160 or less than 100
- Diastolic: more than 90 or less than 60
Headaches can be a symptom of high blood pressure. If you develop a headache, take your blood pressure. If it is above normal for you, call the transplant team. Also check your blood pressure if you are feeling dizzy or light-headed. These symptoms can be caused by low blood pressure. If your pressure is atypically low, call the transplant team.
You should weigh yourself on a standard bathroom scale at the same time each morning after going to the toilet. Record your weight. If you gain more than 2 pounds per day, you could be retaining fluid. Report this to your transplant team or local physician.
The office is open from 9am to 5pm for non-emergency issues. These include questions about your care, reporting or inquiring about lab results, scheduling appointments, tests, and procedures, and prescription refills. Contact office at 212.305.6469.
A physician from the team is available 24 hours a day for medical emergencies. If you are ill and need to speak with us, please do not hesitate to call 212.305.6469. The answering service will have the physician return your call promptly.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you or someone close to you should call 911 to summon an ambulance to bring you to the hospital:
- Chest Pain
- Difficulty Breathing
- Loss of Consciousness
Be sure to keep the Transplant Office informed of your correct address and phone number(s), and any changes in your referring doctor's name, address, or phone number(s). Also, it is important to tell us whom to contact in case of emergency, including their name, address, phone, and beeper numbers.